Kaoru Mitoma’s stunning stoppage-time winner secured Brighton and Hove Albion a 2-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday to dump the holders out of the FA Cup.
The tie appeared to be heading back to Anfield for a replay with the game finely poised at 1-1, but the in-form Mitoma netted a spectacular late goal to put Brighton into the fifth round.
Liverpool took the lead via Harvey Elliott during an entertaining first half, but Brighton were good value for Lewis Dunk’s fortuitous equaliser nine minutes later.
Brighton’s continued positivity in the second half looked to set to go unrewarded, but Mitoma’s ball juggling and cool finish sparked bedlam at the Amex Stadium as Liverpool’s FA Cup defence crumbled.
Brighton player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Jason Steele – 4/10 – Got plenty of glove on Elliott’s opener but still couldn’t keep it out.
RB: Tariq Lamptey – 7/10 – Forced the equaliser but was kept very busy going the other way, leaping into a raft of last-ditch tackles which still didn’t halt all of Liverpool’s forward thrusts.
CB: Adam Webster – 4/10 – Regularly bypassed by multiple Liverpool through balls. Hooked at the interval.
CB: Lewis Dunk – 7/10 – Understandably struggled when isolated with Salah high up the pitch but was all-action elsewhere, playing a crucial role in both boxes to score (accidentally) and clear off the line.
LB: Pervis Estupinan – 5/10 – Launched a raft of surges down the left wing but left roof behind him which Liverpool didn’t hesitate to attack.
RM: Solly March – 5/10 – Eager to speed off Andy Robertson’s shoulder, March didn’t always make the most of the space he was afforded.
CM: Alexis Mac Allister – 5/10 – Struggled to progress the ball up the pitch, settling for safely recycling possession in midfield.
CM: Pascal Gross – 6/10 – Filling in for the absent Moises Caicedo, Brighton’s (German) Swiss army knife lived up to his dependable status in whatever role is required.
LM: Kaoru Mitoma – 8/10 – A menacing presence when he was given enough space to unleash his dribbling mastery. Those opportunities dramatically increased after the break.
ST: Danny Welbeck – 6/10 – Shadowed Stefan Bajcetic off the ball diligently, though didn’t see much of it himself.
ST: Evan Ferguson – 4/10 – Got the ball caught under his feet as he lined up a first-half shot, allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold to get back and clear off the line.
Joel Veltman (46′ for Webster) – 6/10 – Shored up Brighton’s backline after the break.
Billy Gilmour (67′ for Welbeck) – 5/10
Deniz Undav (89′ for Ferguson) – N/A
Roberto De Zerbi – 7/10 – After a half-time talk that may well have been spikey – based on the way he vibrated through his half-time interview – Brighton were much improved.
Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Alisson – 7/10 – Hopped entirely past the ball when Dunk diverted it towards goal but was crucially in the way to deny March after the break.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10 – Made an excellent goal-line clearance in the first 15 minutes and wasn’t overly troubled by Mitoma. Surprisingly taken off for the final half-hour.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – 8/10 – Combined his raw speed with a quickness of thought to stay one step ahead of Brighton’s forwards.
CB: Joe Gomez – 6/10 – A little too eager to engage with the opposition forward but didn’t over-commit himself too often.
LB: Andy Robertson – 3/10 – Didn’t offer a great deal going forward while leaving the left-hand side of Liverpool’s rearguard open. Not a good combination.
CM: Naby Keita – 6/10 – Escaped the scrutiny of VAR as the ball clearly hit his arm in the buildup for Liverpool’s opener.
CM: Stefan Bajcetic – 5/10 – Didn’t have his minimal impact on the game aided by an early yellow card.
CM: Thiago Alcantara – 6/10 – Given a bit more licence to roam compared to his midfield colleagues but was keen to hold his position off the ball.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 5/10 – Got into a glut of threatening positions but didn’t take full advantage of them.
ST: Cody Gakpo – 7/10 – Dropping deep into midfield, leaving room for Salah to narrow and dart in behind and growing in confidence when weaving forward from that removed position.
LW: Harvey Elliott – 7/10 – Floating in off the flank into positions where his incisive passing could offer more threat.
Darwin Nunez (59′ for Elliott) – 6/10
James Milner (59′ for Alexander-Arnold) – 4/10
Jordan Henderson (59′ for Keita) – 5/10
Curtis Jones (79′ for Thiago) – N/A
Fabinho (85′ for Bajcetic) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 4/10 – The steady introduction of his experienced players weakened the team. In the end, Liverpool didn’t deserve a replay.